The Greatest Meal of My Life

Hey ya’ll! It is my favorite day of the week: What I Ate Wednesday! I am so happy to be back in the country to participate in this. Luckily for ya’ll, I’ve been holding off to post for this special day, so that I could share the best meal I had on my trip with ya’ll and the rest of the foodie community! Thanks so much to Jenn for hosting this weekly event! Girl, you are a genius. Anyways now time for my meal. This was when we got to Sevilla. The day after we went to Toledo and went back to Madrid, we woke up the next morning super EARLY and hopped on a train to Cordoba where we would only spend a few hours. Thank god before we left I ate a Luna bar to tide me over.

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Our first stop on the itinerary in Cordoba was to go to La Mezquita, which is a sort of catheral and mosque. It was amazing. I am a huge art history buff, I even took a course in my undergraduate studies. Near the end of the course we studied this famous architecture because it has a huge Moorish influence. The arches are probably one of the most notable features of this place since they go on and on forever. The columns themselves are also gorgeous. You can learn a lot about the time period of a building by looking at the crown of the column, which has the decoration part on top of the pillar. All of the carvings in the wall were very intricate too. It is amazing that such beauty like this can be created years and years ago when there was not that much technology and tools.

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More arches and columns. Don’t worry I won’t torture ya’ll so much. I have about a million pictures of this one place. It was so beautiful that I just kept snapping away at everything. My eyes were a bit overwhelmed by everything, so I wanted to take enough pictures to be able to remember it later. There was a small amount of stained glass in the building, which was seriously breathtaking. I am a huge fan of stained glass (Jewish probz – or maybe art lover problems). I really just love art and architecture in general. If I could do something else in life (I wouldn’t because I love nutrition and health too much), but if I did it would have to do with art and architecture. I love it.

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After La Mezquita, we headed off into these really small alley ways to find a synagogue. However the synagogue was closed for renovation, but luckily the Sephardic museum was open! I’m an Ashkenazi Jew, which means that I come from Eastern Europe. Sephardic Jews come from Spain, Morocco, etc etc. The museum was really cute though. It was three stories with each room being a different part of Jewish history in Spain. They had tons of old Spanish Jewish artifacts like a seder plate that was painted in the brightest colors. I liked that the Sephardic Jews were into very bright and vibrant things. It makes everything so much more beautiful. After this museum, our train was in an hour, so we didn’t have time to sit down and eat anything. We went back to the station and got on our train to Sevilla. Once in Sevilla we were starving, so we went to look for something that was open to eat. However it was siesta around this time, so we were getting nervous that nothing was open. Luckily we ended up at La Azotea, which had the best meal of our entire trip.

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This may have been my favorite tapas plate of the entire meal. It was wontons with goat cheese and shrimp inside topped with a spicy aioli sauce and scallions. Ummmm yes. It was like an asian fusion with spanish food. The wontons were really hot, but the cheese just melted into your mouth as you bit into it. The shrimp was chopped very finely, so that the texture was not a bothersome at all. It was the perfect dish. I could have eaten about two or three plates of these and called it a meal.

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This was a fish plate. It had a small filet of fish on top of a bed of greens, tomatoes, and this garlic sauce. It was also topped with parmesan flakes. This was a medio portion, which meant that it was half of what the ration is. It was cooked perfectly. The fish was extremely flaky and fresh. The tomatoes were so good too. When you mixed everything up with the sauce, it was the perfect bite. There were some other good looking fish plates that went by us as we sat waiting for our food. We wanted to eat everything.

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This looks extremely weird, and a little bit like sushi. However it is just some brown rice and meat stuffed into a seaweed wrap and topped with either an egg or caramelized onions. When I first saw this dish on the table, I was a bit worried. It looks a little sketchy, however it is an explosion of deliciousness when you shove it in your mouth. You expect it to be a bit bitter, but instead it is extremely sweet in a savory sort of way. I would have definitely ordered this again.

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Croquettes! We obviously couldn’t have gone one meal without eating at least one of our favorite traditional Spanish foods. These were AMAZING. It was like a sweet duck sauce underneath the croquettes, which were just simply filled with ham and cheese. They were fried super crispy too, which gave the outside a nice crunch as you got into the soft inside. These were definitely one of the best croquettes I had on the trip.

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I believe that if you are having the best meal of your life, you definitely need to order dessert. Since this restaurant was so amazing, it was obvious that all of the desserts were going to be equally amazing. It was really hard to pick, but in the end we ended up choosing a chocolate orange souffle. It was mind blowing. When we broke it open, chocolate ganache spilled out of the cake. We ate it up in about five minutes. They must have thought we were American pigs, but oh well. It was good. Definitely the best meal of the trip. I wish we could have gone back at least one more time to try other things on the menu since there were so many tempting options.

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Instead of having dinner like a normal person, we decided to head over and eat some helado (ice cream) for dinner. Such a good option in my opinion. We went to Rayas, which is a very popular heladeria in Sevilla. It was definitely worth the trek (later on we found out that there was one literally a foot from our hotel lol). My brother ended up getting strawberry cheesecake and dulce de leche. The strawberry cheesecake was definitely my favorite of the two. It was so creamy and rich.

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I decided to go pretty simple and just get coconut. It was delicious. There were small flakes of coconut within the ice cream. I love fruit flavors of ice cream. I wish we would have gone back to get more because I would have gotten lemon or mango. You can’t go wrong with something simple. If I had my way, I probably would have just snuck behind the counter and sampled every single flavor. Yeah, I like ice cream. Foreign icecream is just so much better in comparison to American. I could live off gelato in Italy, but that is a whole different story. Back to Spain!

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After we got our ice cream, we ate it and walked around Sevilla. We ended up at this awesome castle/church thing. I’m not really sure what it was, but it was gigantic. It looks cool at night. We walked through the Juderia (Jewish neighborhood) and even ended up attending some neighborhood party. Actually we think it was some political rally, but it felt like a neighborhood party to me. It was super awkward in my opinion and I wanted to leave. Eventually we ended up back at the hotel and went to rest for the next day ahead of us.

I hope everyone had a good WIAW! We are halfway through the week. I’m not sure why I count down the week anymore since I pretty much do nothing besides coach volleyball. It is just a habit I guess or I’m just super excited for the Maccabi games and graduate school. Who knows!

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WIAW (I’m Back)

Hey ya’ll! Sorry I’ve been MIA from the blogging world. Lets just say I have a knack of misplacing things in my room and stuff. For the past week and a half, I haven’t been able to find my camera charger. Uh oh. That means no new photos for the blog since they have all been hanging out on my camera. Thankfully when I was home this past weekend, I found my charger in my backpack that I took to Boston. My bad. So now I’m back and just in time for my favorite day of the week: What I Ate Wednesday. Thanks to Jenn for hosting my favorite day of the week!

Hello to a breakfast of champions. Sometimes when I go grocery shopping I eyeball certain things, like these Vans lite waffles, and debate if I really need them. I then come up with amazing breakfasts like this one to justify why I really need to buy these. Heck plus they were on sale, so it was calling to my Jewish nature.

This lovely creation was two Vans lite waffles, a sliced banana, strawberry slices, fat free vanilla yogurt, and a sprinkle of chocolate chips.The only thing I thought was missing was some dark chocolate sauce. Oh well, I definitely will be putting that on top next time. This was the perfect breakfast and it held me over through the morning until I ate my lunch after back to back classes.

Smoothies are one of the best snacks out there. You can totally customize them to your preferences and they are very filling if you put lots of fiber, like I do, in them. Mine was a chocolate pineapple smoothie topped with some fat free whip cream and dark chocolate sauce (I love my dark chocolate – who doesn’t).

My mom and I went on a little shopping spree the other weekend, and ended up at godiva because a couple of new flavors were out. We ended up getting an 8 piece box of chocolates – total score in my mind. The flavors are birthday cake, chocolate chip cookie dough, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin spice, walnut brownie, and pineapple hummingbird. So far the birthday cake is my favorite. I pretty much love anything birthday cake flavored, so throw it in a chocolate and I’m yours.

Since I have class literally all day pretty much, I have been needing to pack lunches that fit into my backpack and are easy to eat throughout the day. This means tons of salads. For this day in particular, I had a hamburger salad. I did meatless crumbles, shredded lettuce, sliced red onion, sliced pickles, mushrooms, and it was topped with mustard. Oh man. This was actually really good. I was impressed. Especially because I threw this right together before I had to go to class. Skills.

My mom and I are obsessed with Halibut. When we were at Central Market we saw some fresh fillets of halibut that were really thick, so we decided to get it and make fish tacos with. We were originally going to marinate it in some hatch chile soy sauce, but my mom realized that she had thrown it away. We ended up just tossing some olive oil, salt, and pepper on them.

The fish turned out amazing. It was flaky to perfection. We just ended up throwing them on some corn tortillas that we also got at Central Market, and topped them with diced onions and tomatoes. This was the perfect dinner.

Froyo is always the best night cap in my mind. You can’t get anything better than some low calorie frozen yogurt with amazing toppings. Definitely will have to do a review of the local froyo places in San Marcos sometime soon – I won’t complain about that!

Hope everyone has an amazing Wednesday! I’m dying because I just had my intermediate volleyball class, and I swear all we do is run instead of actually play volleyball. I’m ready to play!

The Best Meal of My Life

Hey ya’ll! Sorry I’ve been gone. Life has been hectic, and yesterday I didn’t have my computer with me since I went to Austin to celebrate my dad’s birthday. So the best meal of my life. Well no, I would have to say it was one of the top 5 best meals of my life in America. So this meal was not on my Healing Diet at all, but you can’t run your life around certain rules because that would make you have a sort of eating disorder. We want to be healthy, not crazy. Anyways on to the greatest meal EVER. My dad picked to go to the Barley Swine for his birthday dinner.

The Barley Swine is a small restaurant off of South Lamar in Austin, TX. You have to get there 30 minutes before opening because that is how great this place is. People line up outside the building to get a spot inside. We had to wait outside in 106 degree heat, but after sweating to death this was totally worth it. The menu is tapas style, which means that you need to order about 3-4 plates per person. These are small plates, so it is not like you are consuming whole racks of lamb. There was five of us, only about 10 things on the menu, and three specials. Being the foodie family we are, we decided to literally get everything except the foie gras.

So the presentation on every plate was BEAUTIFUL. This was a scrambled duck egg, pecans, green bean salad, and morels. This is probably one of my favorite dishes of the night. I never thought a scrambled duck egg would be that mind blowing, but it was. This dish was pretty much on the top of everyone’s lists at the end of the night.

What is this beauty? Well fried head of course? FRIED HEAD!?! I know when I saw the description on the menu, I thought it was like an entire animal head that was fried. No. It was just a shrimp head that was fried served along with a couple of broiled shrimps in a delicious sauce topped with sesame seeds. It was awesome. I am now in love with fried heads. Yes, saying that out loud sounds very weird, but I’m not one for caring what others think.

Yes this soup tastes as good as it looks. Actually it looks sort of chunky and weird, but trust me when I say that the flavors of this soup are the yummiest combination that your mouth will ever experience. It is a corn soup with coconut, tamarind, thai green chiles, and plums. Weird sounding, but so delicious. We gobbled this up in like 5 seconds. My grandpa is a soup connoisseur and he thought it was fantastic.

I’m Jewish and I eat pork, so what. With pork this good, I would never refuse. This dish was pork belly served over curried eggplant puree, cous cous, and pickled peach. Curry with pork belly and peaches? Yes, it is so good. The curry flavor was probably the best part of the entire dish. The pork belly was so soft and tender. It just melted in your mouth. I could have gone for like ten of these.

I love fish. Actually I have recently decided that I am going to go pescatarian once I clean out my fridge, but that is a story for another time. When I saw crispy red fish on the menu, I was like sign me up we are getting two of these. It was served with green chile grits, pickled corn, and avocado. Being from the south, I already love grits, but these were on a whole different level. With the blackened fish, it was the perfect bite. My brother and I were big fans of the dish.

Sort of creepy? Well yes it does look like a circular form of meat. What is this? It is goat shoulder. You ate goat shoulder? Yes, and it was freaking good. Once you put your fork into it the meat pulled apart like pulled pork or something like that. It was extremely tasty. I’m a big fan.

For the rest of the meal, I’m just going to post pictures instead of describing everything because it will be like the longest post in the entire world. I’ll just let you drool over the most amazing meal and make you jealous of what I got to eat and what you didn’t.

Pig face….Yep and it was freaking tasty. It tasted like a Jewish Brisket. Delicious.

I know I said I wasn’t going to talk about anything else, but this was probably my favorite plate of the night. It was quail stuffed with goose liver (pate) served over charred leek and dirty rice with a side of corn cakes. Oh man oh man do I love some goose liver. The quail was so tender and when paired with a bite of the corn cake, it was like pure happiness was inside my mouth.

Lamb with chickpea fritters. mmmmm.

Donut stuffed with jalapeno jam and a side of goat cheeseI lied again. I have to talk about this. It was corn brulee with white chocolate, popcorn, and goat milk’s caramel. This sounds so weird, but it was so good. Definitely one of the best desserts I’ve ever had. My family fought over it because it was so tiny. I only got one bite, which made me sad.

This was the finale of the meal. Grilled peach, marsala, goats milk icecream, and a black pepper crumble. This dish sums up summertime for me. Peaches, the grill, and cold ice cream. It was the best way to end the meal. I was definitely satisfied. It was an amazing meal with my family, and it will definitely go down in the history books! Just another Happy Birthday to my dad! My brother and I are epic fails at life because we forgot his present at the house. Way to go. We are great kids, I know.

I hope everyone is having an amazing week so far! I know I am now that my two tests are out of the way.

Have you ever waiting in line for a long period of time just to eat something?
What is the best meal you have ever had in your life?